Myanmar Military Regime’s Forces Establish Bases at Civilian Schools, Universities, and Hospitals

By The Irrawaddy 8 March 2021

Yangon—At least 20 government universities, school and hospitals in major cities including Yangon, Mandalay, Magway, Monywa and Ayeyarwady have been occupied by security forces of the military regime as their base camps.

On Sunday night, security forces that have occupied a teaching hospital in Yangon’s North Oakkalapa Township as their base camp, opened fire and exploded percussion grenades in an attempt to intimidate a crowd that had appeared in front of the hospital opposing its use by the military.

A resident was wounded in the leg when shot by security forces.

Also, residents of Yangon’s Yankin Townships staged protest against an encampment of security forces at the township’s general administrative department office last night.

Security forces who have occupied Yangon’s Waibargi Infectious Disease Hospital, which had been left behind by doctors and medical staff taking part in nationwide civil disobedience movement, also conducted a crackdown against people opposing their occupation of the hospital. Security forces used slingshots, rubber bullets and sound grenades.

Sunday night, security forces occupied the Dagon University of Yangon as their base camp.

They also used hundreds of percussion grenades and fired warning shots in several Yangon’s townships to frighten residents. Some houses were hit with live rounds. Security forces destroyed windows of a dozen of vehicles and closed circuit television systems in Kamayut Township last night.

Residents said that security forces opened fire at two rooms of an apartment that had switched lights on.

In the country’s second biggest city Mandalay, security forces have occupied all universities as well as 500 and 300 bed hospitals as the base camps.

On Saturday, security forces retreated back from an encampment at the Loikaw University in Kayah State after facing a protest by residents.

During their retreat, security forces left behind more than 200 rounds of ammunition including live bullets, rubber bullets and tear gas. Residents transferred the ammunition to the police force of the Kayah State.

Some said that military is setting up base camps near residential neighborhoods in order to firmly manage their administrative operations.

Dr. Sai Khaing Myo Tun, the president of the Myanmar Teacher Federation, told The Irrawaddy the military is trying to set up base camps as a frontline near population centers because their mobility had previously delayed due to roadblocks of anti-regime protesters.

“This is believed to [make possible a] crackdown on the anti-regime protest leaders at night,” said Dr. Sai Khaing Myo Tun, concerning about setting base camps of security forces.

Ko Than Kyaw Oo, student union chair of Sagaing Region’s Monywa University which is being used as military base camp, said that students condemned the military use and they will drive the security forces out of the university.

“Universities are not for the military. Campuses are not the place for the military dogs (soldiers),” said Ko Than Kyaw Oo.

The 88 Generation Peace and Open Society said on Sunday that according to the Geneva Convention, school, hospital and religious buildings are to be protected zones for refugees.

Occupying those protected zones by the police and military is breaching the Geneva Convention and International Humanitarian Law, said the group.

The group’s office in Yangon also was raided by the police and soldiers on Monday. A safe box, computers, office’s usages and paintings were taken.

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